Leaders from across the nation meet in Minneapolis to learn about youth violence prevention
The City of Minneapolis will host a national network of city leaders from across the country Oct. 10-12 to discuss best practices in youth violence prevention while highlighting local successes and programs in Minneapolis. The meetings and workshops will bring together nearly 60 members from the Oakland-based Prevention Institute’s UNITY (Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth) network who are all working on youth violence prevention initiatives. The meetings and workshops will take place across the city and include local leadership presentations, site visits and workshops.
The UNITY Network is composed of a growing number of U.S. cities that are committed to preventing violence before it occurs. Launched in 2005 and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the network takes a public health approach that recognizes that violence is as much a health problem as it is a criminal justice problem. In 2010, members, including Minneapolis, developed a strategy approach called the Urban Agenda, which asserts that violence is preventable and calls for the development of citywide and neighborhood-level plans, grounded in research and informed by communities, to have the greatest impact in achieving violence reduction.
Youth violence is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As part of its youth violence prevention efforts, in 2006, the City of Minneapolis declared youth violence to be a public health concern and formally launched the "Blueprint for Action" in 2008 with these four goals: connect every youth with a trusted adult; intervene at the first sign that youth are at risk for violence; restore youth who have gone down the wrong path; and, unlearn the culture of violence in our community.
Since 2006, the City of Minneapolis has seen some successes in reducing youth violence in the city. For example:
The number of juveniles involved in violent crime is down 59 percent
Violent crime arrests for juveniles have been reduced by nearly 44 percent
Incidents involving guns and juveniles are down nearly 66 percent
*Source: Results Minneapolis, Youth Violence Prevention, May 22, 2012
In addition to these measured successes, the Blueprint has served as a platform for significant systems change and resource allocation in a coordinated manner. Among the achievements:
SPEAK UP Tip Line – Launched confidential tip line for Minneapolis youth and young adults to call or text in the threat of weapons in the community.
StreetReach – Engaged youth who exhibited signs of at-risk behavior for violence and other negative situations. Services included mentoring, and providing resources, recreational activities and other positive adult connections during summer months.
Expanded summer hours at parks – Helped leverage resources to expand hours at parks in 9 neighborhoods that were prone to greater levels of violence.
Leveraged resources – In 2008 & 2009 leveraged $514,000 of Empowerment Zone funds to 9 community organizations to support several youth development initiatives including employment opportunities for youth, parent support programs, Youth are Here Buses, and teen pregnancy prevention programs.
Hospital protocol – Launched a protocol with two Trauma 1-level hospitals to intervene and provide psycho-social assessments within 24 hours to every youth aged 10-24 presenting a violent injury to the emergency room. Patients are then connected with appropriate community-based organizations.
North4 – Launched a pilot employment program for gang affiliated youth who had trouble gaining employment due to their criminal background. Program helps employ and rehabilitate former offenders interested in making a change in their life.
Engagement Zones and Center of Excellence – Partnered with the University of Minnesota to leverage assets at the University for the establishment of a Center and to help implement the Blueprint in target neighborhood.
Youth Violence Prevention Act of 2009 – Successfully lobbied for the passage of state legislation which declared youth violence a public health issue statewide and created 3 additional pilot sites in Minnesota to be modeled after the Blueprint.
Gang Assessment Report – Conducted an assessment of the capacity of organizations to engage and address gang-affiliated youth in four neighborhoods that had the highest rates of violent and gang crime.
B.U.I.L.D. – Gang prevention and healthy youth development curriculum that is intended to increase street-based outreach focusing on specific high-risk neighborhoods
Summer 612: An innovative microgrant and campaign program that engages over 1000 youth in the summer to create messages using the arts to address the culture of violence.
Visit the City’s website for information about youth violence prevention.
Published Oct. 9, 2012